I am a recovering opiate addict. I have been using pills and on methadone for the last 12 years. I am now on suboxone and have been able to obtain sobriety while on this medication. However, it is time to get off of the suboxone and move on with my life. I am scared of the paws. Can you give me some info on what happens to our dopamine receptors from long term opiate use? Do they begin repairing themselves as you decrease your opiate intake or do they wait until all opiate use has completely ceased?
Suboxone is a difficult drug to taper, some have difficulties stopping at 1mg and must titrate the doses. The last taper should be titrated slowly, down to 0.5mg/day, then 0.25mg and if you are still uncomfortable stopping there, half of that. The residual symptoms of insomnia and depression can last a few months. It is not easy, but it gets better and better over time and you can look forward to a drug free healthy energetic you in the future. You are absolutely right, when you take opiates for a long time like you have, your body's physiology has been altered. Your central nervous system has created a multitude of opioid receptors that all are screaming for endorphins (opiates) to fill them, but your body has now forgotten how to make them by itself. It will take time - two to four weeks at least, for your receptors to down-regulate (for the brain begin to heal) and to start making its own endorphins. Brain heals pretty slowly, so it may take you as long as a couple of months to get rid of feelings of sluggishness, restlessness and depression. The best thing you can do is take good care of yourself, eat healthy food, stay hydrated, keep active and busy. Stay away from sugar, soda, and simple carbs. Do not consume caffeine at least 6 hours prior to bedtime. Take a look at my blogs about options for detox and recovery. You may also take a look at my clinic website where I also have my blogs and a lot of other info about drug addiction and recovery. Look especially into the blog and the info on Naltrexone therapy after getting clean. It really improves your chances of staying clean for good by cutting down your physical cravings. Look into my clinic website as well. All this can be done by clicking on my name in blue.
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